Guns are the number one killer of kids in America. A child cannot enter kindergarten without the required immunizations, but that child is not protected from taking a parent’s gun that’s not locked up. Or protected from the gun that his buddy sneaks into school for show and tell … and kill.

If your answer is that we have a constitutional right to own and carry guns, that is correct, but heartless. When the Constitution was written, it referred to freaking muskets, not super-lethal assault weapons.

We have lost our way on constitutional rights when we allow average persons like you and me to purchase weapons. OK, Brad Pitt owns a gun and says he feels better with a gun. So does his ex-wife Angelina Jolie (I’m dying to know that backstory). Whoopi Goldberg has a gun. Sylvester Stallone does not, says he will not own a gun and has campaigned against them.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a truly scary throwback, has said “the right to bear arms is the foundation on which all our other rights rest and is essential to Americans’ ability to rule themselves.” Say what? How about freedom of speech? How about voting rights? I don’t want to go off on a rant about Ron DeSantis, but he is way scarier — and smarter — than Trump.

Only three countries in the world currently have a constitutional right to own a gun: the U.S., Mexico, and Guatemala. Those two countries are not great company for the U.S. unless we really want violence as a way of life. Furthermore, we are way ahead in children’s gun deaths compared to European countries.

Now comes a spate of gun-toting old guys shooting at people who ring their doorbell or pull into their driveway by mistake. I could work up a certain sympathy for these codgers if they watched Fox News all day and believe any stranger could be coming to harm them. On the other hand, maybe they’ve been waiting all their lives to shoot someone and know they might get away with it by playing the “Demented Fogey” card. I have dementia and I’m not more afraid or more bellicose.

A weekend in Chicago is almost never a matter of whether anyone was shot; people, usually young people, will be shot. It’s a matter of “what’s the total?” I was honestly shocked when crowds of teenagers took over the Loop last weekend and only one person was shot.

Here’s an idea that might work. Why don’t we turn the problem over to gun owners? All they would have to do is turn in their weapons. The idea is to convince them to admit the enormous weight of the gun problem by admitting there is only one solution: no guns.

Then we must make a huge fuss over them for being willing to get rid of their guns.

Two upcoming holidays, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, would be perfect occasions for former gun owners to celebrate their freedom from fear, for them and for us, and do something astonishing for their country. Every town’s gun owners could be honored in a parade and ceremony turning in their guns, accompanied by flags, bands and cheerleaders (and in Oak Park, the guy who looks like Abraham Lincoln, who, by the way, was assassinated with a gun).

Guns could be melted down and made into angels in memory of all the children whose lives were cut short by firearms.


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Mary Kay O'Grady

Mary Kay O'Grady is a former high school English teacher and later owned her own public relations business, The O'Grady Group. She has lived in Oak Park for almost fifteen years. She is currently the chairperson...